A charming, frothy tale of a piglet’s antics in the tropics.


Sir Pigglesworth's Adventures in San Juan, PR

From the Sir Pigglesworth Adventure Series series , Vol. 7

A porcine traveler visits another scenic locale for sunny thrills and a little bit of mischief in this seventh installment of a chapter book series.

Sir Pigglesworth and his family head to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Ever excitable, Sir eagerly plans to enjoy snorkeling and swimming and soak up everything that the island has to offer. Imagine his surprise and delight when he runs into his old friends JoAnn and Bill in San Juan, too. They are there for a visit; JoAnn lived in the city as a child. Together, JoAnn, Bill, and Sir snorkel (the piglet is convinced a shark is out to get him, but it’s only a rock) and surf, and they even read to the children at JoAnn’s old school. They also savor sites like La Coca Falls, Old San Juan, and the El Yunque rain forest, and eat a delicious meal of rice and beans, chicken, and flan. But Sir gets into more trouble than he should—chasing animals, convincing himself that there are real-life butterflies in his stomach, and nearly knocking over an entire display of dresses. By the time he’s ready to give the graduation speech at a university (the whole point of his trip to Puerto Rico), he’s enjoyed many escapades—even though he failed to finally catch a lurking iguana. Seven books into this series, authors Wagner and Dean and illustrator Darchicourt (Sir Pigglesworth’s Adventures in Bermuda, 2016, etc.) have concocted even more capers for the main character. The authors’ vivid descriptions and depth of knowledge concerning Puerto Rico enhance the tale—thanks to the piglet’s exploits, families will likely be booking vacations there soon. This volume is part children’s story, part sightseeing guide. Some of Sir’s pranks read as a bit too silly. But it’s all in fun, and readers should have a fine time. The images bring a great deal of color to the story, especially when depicting the rain forest and the island’s assorted creatures. One caveat, though, involves how Darchicourt draws the characters of JoAnn and Bill. Meant to resemble Wagner and her husband, the illustrations look like caricatures, and they don’t really blend with the cartoon aspect of the rest of the pictures. But ultimately, Sir’s latest installment is an entertaining one that fans of the series should want to read. 

A charming, frothy tale of a piglet’s antics in the tropics.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Sir Pigglesworth Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

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Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.


From the Little Blue Truck series

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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